Island Cricket

Sunday, November 18, 2007

We have let down Murali- Mahela

Sports - Sunday Island: Mahela Jayawardena believes that the champion spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has been let down by the team. 'Murali has been trying a lot, but we haven't helped him out. Credit should go to the way Australia batted,' Jayawardene said after the second day’s play of the second Test at Bellerive Oval yesterday."

Muralitharan ended up taking just a solitary wicket for 140 runs in the Test and is still six short of the record.

Although Muttiah Muralitharan has taken just one wicket Mahela Jayawardena said that the champion spinner was enjoying the challenge of bowling against Australia.

"Without taking too many risks they put a lot of pressure on him. Murali is a freakish guy and he could pick up five-six wickets in the second innings. I think he's enjoyed the challenge," Jayawardena said.

Jaywardene felt the key to fight Australia on equal terms would be to not lose too many wickets when the Test resumes on day three today at Hobart. Sri Lanka ended the second day at 30 for 0 in reply to Australia's 542 for 5 declared and face another hard struggle to avoid losing the series 2-0.

"It's a pretty good score from Australia .It's a flat wicket and we need to make sure that we bat through tomorrow," Jayawardene said. "It was a bit dark and was swinging and Australia would have thought of picking up a few quick wickets. I thought Marvan and Vandi (Vandort) did a pretty good job for us. It's up to us to take the advantage."

Jayawardene lost the service of Farveez Maharoof, who did not take the field on the second day, through injury. Jayawardene had to rotate Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando and Lasith Malinga through the bulk of the overs on day two and the visitors' attack was punished by Australia's batsmen.

"Maharoof started complaining about the ankle yesterday and we got it strapped up and he bowled really well with it yesterday," Jayawardene said. "When I lost him it was very difficult for me to have the combinations going."

Jayawardene said that Maharoof should be able to bat without putting in a lot of effort. "We'll see how it goes depending on the situation we are in."

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